Description: Commander Heidern of the Ikari Warriors seeks to hone his skills against one of the most capable (and ruthless) fighters within the World Warrior tournament; the Terror of Southtown, Geese Howard.
The tournament hosted by Wolfgang Krauser has been a crossroads for Geese Howard. His half-brother is a terror, the likes of which even gives Geese pause. This, coupled with Duke's rebellion and Geese's defeat at the hands of Terry Bogard has placed the leader of the Southtown Syndicate in dire straits. He must take a stand. Now is the time to stand up and assert his power on the world stage--or fall prey to the swarming of vultures as they perceive him to be weak.
And so, Geese has stepped onto the stage of World Warrior. There's no doubt that some have come to think Geese has gotten weak in his old age, but he will be glad to show them their folly. They know where to find him.
Heidern will be received with respect and courtesy when he arrives bearing a wristband for World Warrior. The secretary at the front desk--a young, attractive Japanese woman in glasses and a finely-tailored black skirt suit--gladly takes Heidern's information, calls up to Mr. Howard's office. In a few moments, she speaks to him again with that same polite, deferent tone.
"Please use the central elevator, Mr. Heidern. Mr. Howard is waiting in his office."
One of Geese's many bodyguards "helpfully" shows Heidern the way--but it's easy for Heidern to tell he's nervous. The Ikari Warrior Commander has a reputation that he is in no rush to test.
This upcoming tournament has less to do with prestige for Heidern - or proving to himself or others that he was still a threat. His own reason for accepting the free invitation, after it found it's way to Ikari Headquarters in South America, could be summed up in one word alone:
It was even written on the letter that accompanied the invite - 'Few can fight Rugal and live. And he has accepted my invitation. Will you?'
So the old mercenary traveled to Strolheim to accept the wristwatch with only one goal in mind: revenge. Revenge for the decimation the Ikaris suffered at the hands of R, revenge for his missing eye, revenge for the death of his family at the mad Bernstein's hands.
And yet, he knew it would be folly to follow the GPS straight towards his old nemesis. Only recently recovered from his titanic struggle against the Justice Gear - and the radiation poisoning he suffered from deftly evading a gamma ray blast at the beginning of that duel - the Ikari CO knew he must sharpen his skills before facing the top-ranked competitor.
This began with the former World Warrior, Ryu; a battle which confirmed that - despite his age and despite being out of the action for some time - Heidern still remained a well-honed, dangerous fighter. Although the Ansatsuken Master had kept pace with him for some time, the old soldier's performance against a younger, more agile foe was nothing short of impressive.
Some time had been spent after the bout to absorb the intel gathered during the fight, the Commander breaking down his own techniques and movements in particular.
Was he ready to face Rugal? No. Not even close.
And despite the fact that he had little to live for outside of the men and women he commanded within the Ikaris, he truly had no intention of dying. Certainly, he would not give Rugal Bernstein the pleasure of an easy victory against the man he had let live so many years ago.
But, he was ready to face tougher foes. And there was no shortage of those among the list of warriors in the tournament qualifiers.
Already in the area around Southtown after facing Ryu at the forest clearing's Shinto shrine, it seemed only logical to decide upon the strongest foe in the surrounding area.
Geese Howard. The Terror of Southtown. The formerly unchallenged crimeboss of the entire metropolis.
Heidern, after all, was shrewd and clever enough to believe none of the rumours surrounding the man and his recent defeat at the hands of Terry Bogard. He knew it was a fluke, likely not to be repeated again. The mercenary general knew better than most that age was no impediment to ability.
While he might normally have attempted an infiltration or rooftop airdrop, there was simply no need to do so now. Howard was entered in the tournament, after all, and he would be damaging his own ranking by turning Heidern down.
Gruffly mumbling his way through the front desk, the Ikari CO - clad in his usual olive-drab uniform, complete with billowing overcoat, leather gloves, and tightly-worn beret - rode the elevator up in silence, his keen sense for danger constantly on the lookout for potential ambushes.
Stepping out of the metal box once it has reached the top floor, Heidern has one word alone for the leader of the Southtown Syndicate. It is spoken in low, rumbling tones - and it's clear he has no small amount of distaste for the man who rules this city with an iron fist.
He is not here to talk.
Geese's answer is short and simple. He is already dressed for the occasion in his white gi shirt and red, gold, and flowing aikido pants. There are no minced words or pleasantries as he steps across the hardened wooden floor into the center of the ring set in his rooftop office.
"I have heard of the potency of your Ikari Warriors. Of your duel with the Gear. Don't think that I will show you mercy for your work. Instead, show me the power that saved Japan!"
Blue-white chi surges around Geese, whipping up like a small tornado. It surges to a peak and then bursts, scattering into the harsh winds of the rooftop. When it comes, Geese makes only one further motion.
He raises his hand, arm extended, and curls his fingers to say "Come on."
COMBATSYS: Geese has started a fight here. You cannot escape wrong death.
COMBATSYS: Heidern has joined the fight here.
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Heidern 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Geese
A slight nod of acknowledgment to his name, before Heidern mirrors Geese's own movements - his tall, polished boots click firmly on the wooden floor, as he strides ahead towards the ring at the center of the roof.
His one eye scans the frame of his opponent, looking for any of the weaknesses that have been rumoured as of late... and, naturally, finding none to speak of. The Syndicate leader seems as potent as ever; a thought which is confirmed by the sudden burst of chi surrounding the blonde-haired American.
The overcoat covering Heidern's frame whips harder as the force of the energy joins the breeze already blowing around the roof of Geese Tower.
"I expect none," responds the soldier in neutral, impassive tones to the promise of no mercy from the crimeboss. Geese Howard is known for many things, but 'mercy' could hardly be considered to be one of them.
Slowly pulling both hands out of his pockets, his fingers travels up to his midsection to undo the belt fastening his coat together. Every movement seems to be methodical, planned out, and - above all else - calm and efficient. Despite his opponent's fearsome reputation and abundant skills, the Ikari CO does not seem intimidated.
He has faced worse monsters than this, and still lives. Why should today be any different?
At the beckoning gesture, one corner the mercenary's lips twist upwards for a brief second - understanding that Geese has given him the first move in this bout. It's clear the man is still as arrogant as ever, something that is unlikely to ever change - even with the passage of time.
Spinning suddenly on the heels of his boots, Heidern completes a 360-degree turn in the blink of an eye; during the motion, his olive-green overcoat slides off his body and is thrown up into the air. Picked up immediately by the winds that assail the fighting area, it's carried directly towards Geese as it flutters madly.
And behind that distraction, the old soldier has lifted both arms up towards his chest in a cross shape... a fraction of a second after his coat is sent towards the Syndicate crimeboss, an 'X' of blazing blue chi follows - sizzling the air as it travels, in an attempt to take the American by surprise.
COMBATSYS: Geese blocks Heidern's Cross Cutter.
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Heidern 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Geese
Geese's lips curl into an arrogant smirk as the Cross Cutter rips through the air of the rooftop. The blond American folds his arms crossways before him, mirroring the shape of the projectile, and crashes into in an advance. It strikes against his arms with enough force to slide him across the wooden floor of the arena, but he soon grinds his heels to come to a stop.
With one great push he breaks through the projectile, scattering it with a surge of his own chi. He lowers his arms to his sides and takes a deep breath.
"Not bad," Geese says coldly. "I would expect nothing less." And then, with a great shout, he sweeps his hand forward. Chi surges in it and then ripples out across the stage in a rippling, blue-white wave that beats Geese's gi against his chest like a flag in a windstorm.
COMBATSYS: Heidern blocks Geese's Reppuken.
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Heidern 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Geese
Such a compliment doesn't receive any verbal response from the General; merely another stern nod of acknowledgment shot towards his foe. Heidern is not here to trade comments with a man he truly despises as a criminal and murderer - he is simply here to test himself against a worthy, widely-feared opponent who is nearly as dangerous as his /true/ target...
As the American's own blast of chi comes rippling across the roof towards him, Heidern once again raises his arms in front of his chest - making the same 'X' shape as the projectile he had unleashed moments before. Though he does not loose another such attack, there is a faint glow of blue and white surrounding his limbs once more.
The Reppuken strikes his crossed arms, the soldier's own chi struggling to keep the force from hitting his body dead-on. Even with the heels of his boots dug so firmly into the ground, Heidern is still driven back a step from the sheer force of impact - although he quickly recovers his stance, once the energy has fizzled out.
Bringing the heels of his boots together with a firm *click*, Heidern straightens his posture and stands firmly - staring at his opponent from across the makeshift 'ring' in the center of the roof. His right hand is lifted up, as the fingers of his left are used to tug down on the end of the leather gloves that cover that appendage.
Heidern's remaining eye narrows sharply, his analytical gaze refocusing on his opponent; scanning Geese's body for signs of movement or sudden actions, he continues to look for any weakness in technique that he might be able to pounce upon.
The Terror of Southtown is not the sort of foe one rushes blindly into battle against. The fact that he was sharp enough to see through the Ikari CO's distraction fast enough to block the Cross Cutter is only confirmation of the soldier's assessment of the man.
He must be careful here. It's a long way down to street level, after all - and he has no intention of meeting his end, before he faces Rugal once again.
COMBATSYS: Heidern narrows his eye dramatically!!!
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Heidern 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Geese
Geese paces along the roof with a sort of arrogant swagger that only comes from someone completely confident in his abilities. Heidern watches him, and Geese returns the gaze. The fact he stopped the Reppuken as he did seems to have gained Geese's attention, but Heidern does not move to counter attack. His decision to pause and assess Geese leads to a moment of inaction.
Geese takes this as a moment of weakness.
The American crimeboss moves with speed and precision unbecoming of his age and build. He darts in low in a half crouch. His arm snaps to the side, and as he draws in close to Heidern, he strikes like a cobra.
His hand snaps up, reaching for Heidern's throat.
COMBATSYS: Heidern attempts to counter Raimei Gouha Nage from Geese with Killing Bringer.
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Heidern 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Geese
COMBATSYS: Geese reverses Killing Bringer from Heidern with Gedan Atemi Nage.
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Heidern 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Geese
Though Geese may view his opponent's brief pause to analyze him as a sign of weakness, it is one of the hallmarks and assets of Heidern's fighting style. Utilizing his experience as a soldier on the battlefield - able to completely focus his keen senses on a target, to sense potential ambushes and counter-attacks before they happen...
...there is no doubt that many of the mercenary's 'equals' in the world of warriors are faster or stronger than him, but very few are capable of breaking down the movements of a foe and predicting dangers as well as he is.
In many ways, it is his real strength.
But against an opponent who is known for his reaction speed and ability to reverse the techniques of an opponent, it may not be as much of a leg-up as the Ikari CO would hope.
Even as Geese darts towards him with the speed of a much younger man, Heidern remains standing tall with his singular eye remaining zero'd in on the American. Timing out his opponent's stride, watching every change in posture and slight tensing of the man's muscles, he is able to determine the precise moment and exact angle of the attack.
When that hand snaps up towards his throat, he lifts one gloved palm up into it's path with a swift movement that would barely be visible to the untrained eye.
Fingers curl around the crimelord's thick wrist, as Heidern takes a half-step forward... flattening out his palm into a straight, knife-like shape - one of the trademarks of his unique assassination techniques - the Ikari CO aims to thrust it into Geese's midsection...
Geese's fingers tense like steel as he positions himself to go for the throat. His teeth bared, he thrusts up--only for Heidern to intercept the blow and push it away. The counter comes, a knife-hand shooting toward Geese's exposed vitals. For a moment, it seems Geese has stepped right into his trap.
But then Geese smiles and exhales through his noise with a short, confident snort.
His other hand, kept away, strikes forward with an open palm against Heidern's forearm, redirecting the knifehand away from his organs. As he does, he sidesteps, slamming his shoulder into the old mercenary's chest.
And then, with Heidern gripping one of Geese's arms and Geese gripping one of Heidern's, the crimelord shouts a mighty kiai. His muscles tense and strain he he lifts Heidern completely over his head, swinging the General circularly over his shoulders and forcefully down onto the arena floor in a perfectly executed reverse throw.
"Tch," Geese crosses his arms. "Well planned, but it will take more than that."
Heidern's eye widens in shock as his flat palm is knocked off-course with an almost casual ease. He had waited until the last possible moment to counter Geese's throw, but the American was /still/ able to redirect his attack - a testament to the man's ability to control the ebb and flow of such a close quarters encounter.
A grunt escapes the mercenary's lips as a shoulder is slammed into his chest, followed by an attempt to break free of the hold and put some distance between himself and the crimeboss...
...but it's no use. The thick muscles of Geese's imposing frame keeps him in place long enough for the Syndicate leader to complete his reversal and heft Heidern into the air, then back down to the floor of the rooftop ring.
As his spine impacts the hard surface, the Ikari CO lets out a sharp exhalation of breath - the shockwave of force rattling his skeleton after landing harshly. It takes a split-second to recover, before the old soldier is rolling away - coming to rest in a crouching position some distance away from his opponent.
His features twisted in the barest hint of a frown, Heidern lets out a grumble beneath his breath as he stands tall once again - fingers of each hand curling in towards the palm before uncurling, shuffling back and forth in-place as he returns to his fighting stance.
"So it seems."
Those few words - spoken in a flat, deadpan tone - seem to be the only statement the mercenary wishes to make. Suddenly dashing into motion, he strides ahead to close the gap between himself and Geese. Waiting until he's a foot away from his opponent, Heidern suddenly lashes out with his right hand - this time in a solid fist, rather than a flattened palm - to strike the man in the throat.
COMBATSYS: Geese blocks Heidern's Aggressive Strike.
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Heidern 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Geese
Geese approaches Heidern with measured steps. Each one brings a steady tap of shoe against wooden floor as he moves in a way that is practically leisurely, especially compared to the speed he demonstrated just a moment ago.
But then Heidern is on the move again, closing the gap with blinding speed. The fist lashes out at Geese's throat, but the crimelord seems ready.
In a flash his forearm snaps up, catching the fist against his taut arm. There's the thump of bone and muscle and muscle and bone as the blow meets the block. A faint creak issues forth as the two press against each out for a moment until the clash breaks.
"What drives a mercenary to challenge the world?" Geese asks. "Is it money? Honor?" A long pause. "Revenge? You could command armies or conquer nations, but here we are." Geese's arms sweep out, gesturing at the rooftop and the city around them.
"You risked your life for this city against the Gear," Geese says. "Why risk it all again?"
But in a moment, Geese surges forward, stepping into a powerful backfist aimed at Heidern's ribs. In a blur his other hand snaps forward in its wake, reaching to grab at Heidern's collar and flip him across the arena once more with a quick hip-pivot and snap throw.
COMBATSYS: Heidern blocks Geese's Combo Throw.
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Heidern 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Geese
As Heidern's fist ricochets off his opponent's forearm, he returns to a defensive stance - both gloved hands up at chest level, with palms flat and fingers pressed together in a knife-edge. A quick step is taken back, to await the inevitable counter-attack from the American...
...but it doesn't come immediately. Instead, the mercenary is questioned in a manner he most certainly was not expecting; and at first, his face remains neutral and utterly devoid of any reaction.
Until the word 'revenge' is mentioned.
At that, the Ikari CO raises the brow above his good eye sharply and suddenly. Of course his rivalry with the arms dealer Rugal Bernstein is well-known, and it only makes sense that a man as perceptive and keen as Geese Howard would be able to guess why Heidern joined this tournament - but even so, the fact that the crimeboss alluded to that fact in the middle of their bout surprises him nonetheless.
Scowling as his opponent finishes his comment, there is no initial reply - simply preparing himself for the incoming assault, which his analytical gaze warns him to expect.
When it comes, the old soldier is ready; he knows Geese's style well, as he is one of the most well-known fighters presently operating in the world. There are few surprises here; the man is deadly because of his great strength and speed, rather than any unexpected techniques on his end.
As the Syndicate leader surges forward, Heidern twists his body to present his side to the opponent. The backfist impacts his right tricep savagely, causing the tall mercenary to half-stumble before quickly recovering his stance.
It seems like the Ikari almost /allows/ his collar to be grabbed... and the reason why becomes apparent when he is thrown across the ring. Recovering in mid-air, Heidern flips quickly and lands harmlessly on his feet some distance away. Standing straight and wheeling back around to face Geese, he finally sees fit to respond to the man's question.
"You think I care about prestige? Or adulations? Or applause? Even money?"
A slow shake of the head seems to dispel that notion, as Heidern continues to circle his opponent - eye running up and down the man's form, searching for an opening... or perhaps any sign that his opponent might attack him again, mid-speech.
"I'm just looking to collect on a debt, long overdue. I'm sure a man in your position can understand /that/."
Completing that statement with a certain tone of finality, the Ikari CO suddenly leaps into action - tensing the lean muscles of his long legs and hopping into the air. Flipping in mid-air, Heidern reaches out with both gloved hands and tries to grab hold of the American's throat as he passes overhead...
...if he finds his grip, the General redirects his momentum to spin 720-degrees around Geese's throat; as he moves, his hands take on an almost razor-like quality, with deadly-sharp edges where one might expect only blunt force.
COMBATSYS: Geese blocks Heidern's Neck Roller.
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Heidern 0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0 Geese
Geese's eyes narrow as Heidern slips into a secure landing from his throw. Well-known or not, Geese's blend of Hakkyoukuseiken and his own, self-developed style makes him a definite force to be reckoned with. Deciphering his style is well within Heidern's keen analytical skill, but mustering the raw physical power needed to counter it may be a greater challenge.
Geese laughs. It is a dark, almost barking chuckle. "Of course," the crimelord says. "That drive to take back what's yours...that is what drives men to greatness!"
But then Heidern is on the move again, slipping around Geese through an airborn flip. Geese's eyes dart as he watches the Ikari commander go, but his hands are moving just as fast. He snaps up with another forearm block, Heidern's razor-like grip slicing into the skin before keeping his assassin hand away from the American's throat until he has passed. Geese backsteps, shifting his position again.
"Your killing intent serves you well," Geese smirks. "Hesitation is death against me! He powers forward, reaching out for Heidern's throat once more. If he grabs it, he swings Heidern back around, lifting him high into the air before slamming back down toward the rooftop.
COMBATSYS: Geese successfully hits Heidern with Strong Throw.
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Heidern 0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0 Geese
Heidern's passing grab is blocked, his razor-sharp hands slashing into the opponent's forearm rather than the softer, intended target of his windpipe; he then continues his leap to land on his feet several feet away. Though his face remains largely impassive, there is the hint of a scowl on his thin lips - more than slightly troubled by his inability to break through Geese's impressive defenses.
But he was expecting such a performance; the man does not rule Southtown based on business acumen and lack of morals alone, after all.
Spinning on his heels to once again face the American, he does not have the opportunity to respond to the man's statement; rather, he is taken off-guard by the speed of Geese's renewed attack. Finding himself gripped around the throat, he latches one hand onto the man's shoulder with the fingers of his other hand curling around his opponent's grasp...
...but he's too slow to break free of the hold, and soon finds himself hefted high into the air and deposited onto the hard rooftop surface once again.
The Ikari CO grits his teeth as the impact shakes his spine and sends a sharp, stabbing pain up and down his back - but after some of the agony he's suffered in his lifetime as a soldier and warrior, he is able to largely shrug off the damage.
Snapping back into a crouching position, he aims to move before the crimeboss has too much time to back off and prepare his defenses for another assault... lunging towards his opponent, Heidern lashes out with one gloved hand in an attempt to drive the tips of his fingers into Geese's midsection once again.
"Not every man lives to chase greatness, Howard."
COMBATSYS: Geese fails to counter Storm Bringer from Heidern with Joudan Atemi Nage.
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Heidern 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Geese
Geese slowly lowers his hand after executing the throw before stepping back away from Heidern to cross his arms once again. "I was expecting more. Is your revenge not worth more to you than this?" the American asks, glaring down at Heidern even as he rises.
But when Heidern snaps to attention, Geese smiles again, moving to counter. He raises his hand, ready to snap out and catch Heidern in another deadly throw. For a moment, Geese looks ready to take the advantage again.
But the so-called ruler of Southtown underestimates Heidern's drive. The man slips through Geese's grasp, Howard's fingers only briefly brushing across his sleeve before the fingertips collide with Geese's sternum.
"Hrrk," Geese gasps, staggering back. "That's more like it," he says between strained breaths.
That same technique, used against a lesser man, would have resulted in Heidern's fingertips piercing the skin and upper layer of muscle, driving his hand deep into the midsection...
...but Geese is not a 'lesser man', or even average; his muscle density and control over his own body are among the greatest this world has ever seen. As such, it's likely that it just saps the man's strength - perhaps even drawing some blood - without fully piercing flesh.
But Heidern is a patient man, and he is fully prepared to take this fearsome opponent apart piece-by-piece if necessary. Assuming he manages to drag the fight out long enough, of course.
Pulling his hand back and swiping the arm to one side, the mercenary's scowl turns up into a slight smirk along one side of his lips. It's a momentary thing, before the usual expression of cold neutrality once again covers his face.
"And you, Howard?"
His voice comes out low, barely above a whisper - not wasting more breath than necessary in speaking to his opponent, a pinnacle of Austrian efficiency even during conversation. And as he speaks, he steps back in towards the American...
"Have something to prove these days, hrm?"
Questioning Geese's motives for being in the tournament, after not making an appearance on the world stage for quite some time, might well be part of a strategy to throw the crimeboss off his game.
Whatever the reason that the Ikari CO has for speaking to this man that he clearly detests, he doesn't spend much time on words; instead, he lunges ahead again, veering to one side and aiming to plant an elbow-strike directly into the side of his opponent's ribcage.
COMBATSYS: Geese blocks Heidern's Medium Punch.
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Heidern 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Geese
Geese takes heavy breathes, clutching his torso where Heidern broke through his guard. His eyes narrow as he looks at Heidern, assessing the man. Gauging his worth. For a long moment, Geese says nothing, but then he grits his teeth.
The question goes unanswered as Heidern goes in for an elbow strike. Geese brings forward his own elbow, meeting Heidern's blow to stop it with a bone-rattling impact. Heidern can certainly feel the hit, but it doesn't carry the weight it would have hitting a vital.
With his hand removed from the wound, blood drips from Geese's palm onto the wooden floor of the office.
"You might say that I need to silence some barking dogs," Geese says coldly. He reaches out, hooking his fingers around to try and grab hold of Heidern's wrist. If he seizes it, he pulls Heidern's arm until it's fully extended, twists it, and then drives the back of his other fist against the joint in a painful joint-lock and strike.
COMBATSYS: Heidern blocks Geese's Medium Throw.
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Heidern 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Geese
Heidern's arm shakes with the impact of two elbows striking, bone against bone. Likely it jars him just as much as it does his target, a small grunt leaving his lips before he takes a half-step back.
His eye falls down to the ground under Geese's feet, staring at the dripping blood for just a moment... and then a quick glance as he rubs the fingers of his glove together, slightly stained with a trace of crimson fluid.
By the time his attention is focused back onto the American, he's already gripping Heidern's wrist firmly. Although he tugs firmly on the soldier's limb, the lanky mercenary is nevertheless able to keep his arm from being fully extended.
That, combined with a quick twist of his body in the opposite direction, means that Geese's strike to the Ikari CO's joint doesn't cause quite as much damage as he would have hoped.
Wriggling free of his opponent's grasp, the soldier takes a quick step back to offer a few more firm, level words to the crimeboss.
"Must get tiresome, holding onto your throne so desperately."
Whether he's saying it honestly, or just using his words to get under Geese's skin, is up to the American's interpretation... Heidern's calm, neutral tone doesn't give any hints in either direction.
And he doesn't elaborate any further, instead taking a quick step back towards his opponent before spinning on one heel. His other foot arcs upwards and then back down through the air, aiming a roundhouse kick down onto his opponent's shoulder with one heavy, polished military boot.
COMBATSYS: Geese endures Heidern's Medium Kick.
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Heidern 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Geese
"Hrm," Geese says, his lips curling into a snarl once more. Geese draws back, chi whipping around him in a fury. The wind starts to pick up as blue-white arcs ripple out, forming an aura around the blond American as they surge. Power continues to gather even as Heidern advances, moving to deliver a powerful roundhouse. Will Geese block it again? Move once more to counter?
No, instead Geese steps forward into the blow as power surges. The heavy boot slams down into the crimelord's broad shoulder, smashing into it with a crack. The man endures the pain with a grunt, relying on his endurance to push through the pain and damage to advance closer to Heidern.
Geese's power reaches its peak, energy becoming palpable now in the pressure. Geese raises his arms and crosses them over his head, wrist atop wrist. The overwhelming surge of chi makes the air heavy and dense. Geese slams both palms down in front of him, carrying the chi with in each
The chi erupts in a practical wave, great spikes of blue-white energy erupting outward in front of Howard and threatening to pierce into Heidern!
COMBATSYS: Heidern full-parries Geese's Raging Storm+!!
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Heidern 0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Geese
Even with the satisfying impact of his boot smashing down on the opponent's shoulder, Heidern doesn't crack a smile or let out any exclamation of joy. Quite the opposite, in fact - his face remains almost entirely expressionless, brow knitted in focus as he's well aware of how dangerous it is to be in so close to Geese Howard...
...and wondering why he made no motion to defend himself?
The reason why becomes apparent a split-second afterwards, as that first word leaves the American's lips. Heidern knows precisely what is coming his way, as he pulls his striking leg back into his shuffling fighting stance. He knows, too, that he only has /one/ chance at evading this devastating technique - if he fails, it might well mean the end of the fight.
But for the man who had successfully dodged a full-strength nuclear blast from the Justice Gear during the Southtown crisis, this presents an easier challenge than one might expect.
After all, the Ikari CO is used to operating in situations where one wrong move could mean not only /his/ death - but the deaths of countless innocents, as well.
By the time the second word of that signature technique is bellowed out by Geese, his opponent is already moving...
...rolling /towards/ the wave of chi, Heidern comes to a crouch just inches before it is set to impact his form. In a split-second, his forearms are covered with a harsh, burning red energy of their own... the trademark power of his own, self-styled assassination techniques consuming both limbs.
Slicing them diagonally through the air, he clears a path in the middle of the Raging Storm before stepping into the breach and emerging - unharmed - on the other end.
Standing back to full height, the American might catch a glimpse of another small smirk playing across the Ikari CO's features, moments before he acts.
Both hands lash out quickly from his side, sweeping upwards as they /cut/ through the air - unleashing an arc of blue-chi that burns in the rooftop breeze. The speed of his motion is almost beyond comprehension, aiming the slash towards Geese's chest with ruthless efficiency.
COMBATSYS: Heidern successfully hits Geese with Moon Slasher EX.
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Heidern 1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1 Geese
Geese soldiers on, working his shoulder with an uncomfortable creak. That last boot put a dent in Howard, but he seems unwilling to let it slow him down. Whether it's his pride or his sheer drive to win remains to be seen.
When Heidern cuts through Geese's Raging Storm, it gives the crimelord pause.
"What?!" he says through gritted teeth.
But as Geese turns, Heidern is ready to move on the counter-offensive. The two waves of the Moon Slasher rip out with blinding speed--coupled with Geese being caught off-guard by Heidern's precision parry--and the blades slice into the king of Southtown with a flash of chi and a splash of blood.
Geese staggers back, clutching his chest. For a moment, he falls to one knee to stabilize him. His chest rises and falls with effort.
%"This--" Geese says, slowly rising. "This is more becoming of the man who challenged Justice!" Geese's face shifts to a maniacal grin. "Come on," Geese says, energy gathering in his palms, swirling out of the atmosphere.
"Show me the full extent of your power!"
Geese swipes through the air with one hand, then the other, throwing out two great waves of blue-white energy.
COMBATSYS: Heidern dodges Geese's Double Reppuken.
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Heidern 1/------=/=======|=======\==-----\1 Geese
As the crescent moon of chi is loosed from Heidern's slashing hands, he's already spinning away from his target - even before confirming whether or not his attack has struck it's mark. It's clear that he realizes now the inherent danger in remaining within melee range of the expert martial artist. The sheer variety - and efficient deadliness - of the throws he is trained in means that the soldier could never stand toe-to-toe with him in a straight-up fight.
The old mercenary, therefore, has to rely on hit-and-run tactics - utilizing his impressive reaction speed and ability to analyze an opponents motions, in order to maintain any sort of chance at defeating this foe. After all, he is not under the illusion that he is stronger than the American; quite the opposite... he understands his own limitations in this bout, and is acting appropriately.
Heidern's chest rises and falls with deep breaths as he stares towards Geese, a few beads of sweat appearing on the skin directly underneath his beret... even on one knee, the man radiates power and deadliness. His very aura serves as a reminder, that the Ikari CO is not able to drop his guard for even a second...
...that keen, sharp eye continues to scan Geese as he rises back to his feet. The mercenary's gloved fingers curl inwards, muscles up and down his lanky body tensing in preparation for the attack to come.
And yet, the mention of /that/ name seems to break his concentration for just a moment. His eye widens noticeably, as Heidern's lips curl into a frown... the mention of that day on the mountain brings back a flood of conflicted feelings and harsh memories.
A single word, hissed out through clenched teeth. Geese might assume it's a word spoken out of anger, or hatred - how could a man like him understand Heidern's true feelings towards being forced into battle against such a pitiable creature, something that was less a weapon and more a victim of circumstance.
If only he could explain... but the Ikari CO knows it's impossible. He scarcely believed it at the time... and he knows, now, that only another soldier could ever begin to understand what the Justice Gear /truly/ was.
These thoughts run through his heads in a fraction of a second, and by the time Geese shouts those two words his attention is fully focused on the fight once again. As the dual waves of chi rush towards him, both feet leave the ground in a sudden leap that sends him high above the blast of energy...
...landing firmly several feet ahead of the Double Reppuken, the soldier is back within striking distance of his opponent. Once again, both long arms come sweeping up in a sudden arc... the strike itself is several inches away from Geese, even if the man remains motionless. The true assault comes from the sudden pillar of bluish chi that erupts from the rooftop surface under the American's feet.
COMBATSYS: Geese fails to counter Caliburn from Heidern with Oni Hanmon.
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Heidern 0/-------/-------|=====--\-------\0 Geese
Geese watches as Heidern assesses his next move. Skilled as he is, perhaps the crimelord knows that Heidern has found the strategy he needs to even the playing field. The American raises a hand to his face, wiping away a bit of blood from his jaw with his thumb and flicking rubbing it dry between his thumb and forefingers.
"Did I strike a nerve?" Geese asks between heavy breaths. "Maybe a terror of the weapon that those fools unleashed?" Geese steps forward toward Heidern, the wounds on the blond man's chest still stained with red.
"Those like Armstrong who think themselves kings, even gods...yet they won't even fight their own battles! Pathetic!!"
But then Heidern is on the move again. Geese's eyes narrow as he focuses, readying for the coming blow. Heidern closes the gap and Geese reaches to intercept, his fingers clenched like steel to try and seize the opportunity--!
And then it stops short, the explosion of chi rips into Geese. It flashes across--seemingly even through him, and Geese staggers backward once, twice. He drops to one knee again, catching himself by planting a palm against his thigh and the knuckles of his left against the rooftop.
"But you understand that," Geese says lowly. "You appreciate that a man deserves nothing if he won't fight for it!"
As the pillar of chi rips into his opponent, Heidern spins on his heels once again to put some distance between himself and the American. He's not taking any chances here by remaining close to the crimeboss for longer than necessary; after nearly being swiftly defeated in the opening moments of the match, he seems resolved to not give Geese another opportunity to get his hands on him.
Allowing the Syndicate leader to finish speaking, he remains in fighting stance for a few brief moments - watching the man on one knee, but not pressing the attack. Finally, Heidern's heels click together as he stands up straight - the index finger of one gloved hand pointing directly at his blonde-haired foe.
"You're right about Armstrong and his lackies."
By the sound of it, even admitting that Geese is right about /that/ much causes Heidern some discomfort - his voice is low and resentful, as though he was only saying it begrudgingly.
"But what about those who can no longer fight, Howard? The weak, the sick, the young and old? Do they deserve nothing? Not even peace? Protection?"
These words come quicker and louder; his voice suddenly firm and filled with a certain righteousness. He leaves it unsaid that he doubts Howard would ever be able to truly sympathize with those who are weaker than himself - a trait that makes him a vastly different man than the old, grizzled mercenary he is facing in this fight.
"I didn't battle the Gear for glory, or fame, or even simply to destroy a deadly weapon. I did it to guard those who could not defend themselves."
Finishing his statement is a calm and level tone, it becomes obvious that the Ikari CO had no lust for honour or desire to prove himself when he faced off against the Justice Gear on Mt. Fuji that cold, windy day. He did not risk his life, and the lives of his men, for his own sake... but for the sake of every innocent soul that was still trapped in Southtown.
And he would do it again, over and over; until he died, if such a sacrifice was necessary.
Could Geese Howard ever understand what truly drove the man known only as 'Heidern'?
The soldier seems to think any further explanations would only be a waste of time, and he offers no further words. Now is the time for action, not speeches.
He wonders as he dashes back towards Geese; how much could the man possibly have left in him? The fact that he's still standing after Heidern's last technique is impressive - but he expected nothing less...
...and he knows, even on his last legs, that his opponent is a dangerous man. Not to be trifled with. Heidern has to be careful in his approach, not be flashy, not get cocky.
As his stride carries him within striking distance, the old mercenary suddenly twists one foot to drive the grip of his boot into the rooftop surface... his other leg spins up and then down in an arc, aiming to strike Geese first with his knee, then following up with the steel-reinforced tip of his combat boot in a two-hit axe-kick.
COMBATSYS: Geese counters Steiner Gale from Heidern with Chuudan Atemi Nage.
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Heidern 0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1 Geese
"Hrm," Geese makes a noise that is more of a grunt than a word. He stares forward, looking into at Heidern for a long moment. It may seem, on some level, that he is staring past Heidern.
A younger blond man, likely still a teenager, stands face-to-face with another young man, slightly older than he. The elder has long, purple hair, rugged, German features, and a powerful build. The blond looks badly beaten and bloodied.
"I'll kill him!" he shouts in frustration, slamming his fist into the dirt. "He left her when she needed him, and she DIED! Don't you understand!?" The older, purple-haired young man sneers.
"She was depending on him to come save her, and that bastard left!"
"She was weak," says the dark-haired young man. "Like you."
The blond's eyes fill with fury and he lunges, charging at his better desperately.
"So will you die for them?" Geese says, scowling. "Hmph. They will fall, and they'll take you down with them."
Geese faces a man younger than he. A blond man with some of those same features and sporting a red jacket. The two clash, and Geese tosses him from the tower. He crashes into the pool below, smashing through the pool house in a shower of glass. Silently, Geese watches from the rooftop as flashes of red and blue congregrate at the street below.
And as Heidern moves in, sweeping his leg in an arc, Geese backsteps swiftly. He throws both palms forward to intercept the knee, pushing back as Heidern shifts to the axe-kick. As it comes, both hands spread again and snap forward. Geese locks his palms around Heidern's leg, twisting and turning on his heels to flip Heidern into a spin onto the rooftop.
Predictable!!" Geese bellows, but even as he does, his wounds reopen, blood splashing from his chest onto the roof.
Even with his decades of experience in combat and analyzing tactics, to say nothing of his natural ability to read an opponent's movements, Heidern could not begin to describe the series of events that play out in a split-second.
One moment he is charging in at Geese, intending to finish off this bout with a savage axe-kick... and the next, he is laying on the rooftop and staring up at the sky through his one remaining eye, a dull agony shooting up and down his spine from the bone-rattling force of the throw.
It's as though the American was validating Heidern's own respect for his abilities; no matter how wounded, the crimeboss remains a deadly foe to the very end. A man who is capable of seizing any moment of weakness - even the slightest flaw in technique - and using it to his own advantage. Summoning upon some hidden well of strength and reserve to punish any mistake in such a brutal, unforgiving fashion.
The trademark shout from Geese rings in his ears, as the Ikari CO rolls away after a brief respite on his back. Every motion causes a sharp, stabbing pain to run down his back and sides; it's likely he's sporting at least one broken bone from that last counter-attack, to say nothing of the bruises and sprains he has amassed thus far.
Coming to rest on one knee, Heidern's entire body rises and falls with deep, steadying breaths - doing his best to keep his expression from displaying any hint of the pain that runs through his body.
Taking a few seconds to recompose himself, the soldier keeps a hesitant eye on his opponent; watching to ensure he doesn't leap upon Heidern as he takes a moment to recover. And despite his concentration and focus being firmly set upon the fight which is - one way or another - clearly winding down...
...the words spoken to him still run through his mind.
How could Geese Howard ever understand the concept of sacrificing one's life to protect those who are too weak to defend themselves? The truly innocent; does he even believe in such a thing? Or is he so jaded from his decades spent chasing - and then holding onto - power?
Does it even matter?
"Then I fall, if necessary."
His response is cold and harsh, practically spat out towards his foe; the American who clearly values power and status above all else. Heidern knows nothing about his personal relationship with Wolfgang Krauser, beyond their mutual blood relation... he knows nothing about what this tournament truly /means/ for the crimeboss.
"And when I die... I'll know I died for /something/."
As he speaks, the Ikari CO pulls himself back up to his feet, his stance shaky and unsteady even after several moments spent recovering... then, he grits his teeth and grinds the tread of his boots into the rooftop - his stance once again becoming rigid, although his shoulders still rise and fall with deep breaths.
"Can you say the same, Howard? What will you die for?"
Another burst of movement from the unusually spry old soldier... his teeth grind together, as every stride causes another jolt of agony to rush through his body, setting his nerves alight.
A single gloved hand reaches out to grab hold of Howard's sleeve, as Heidern continues to slide past him... moving to the man's back, Heidern's free hand - sharp and deadly as ever - comes up in a flurry of deep, razor-edged slash to run up and down the man's backside.
COMBATSYS: Heidern successfully hits Geese with Backstabber.
-*- DEVASTATING HIT! -*-
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Heidern 0/-------/-----==|=======\====---\1 Geese
Geese, his eyes half-lidded, watches Heidern intently. He seems to listen with intent as Heidern makes his bold proclamation, offering his own life for those who cannot defend themselves. To some, it would be noble. To Geese, it is folly.
But then Heidern meets the Syndicate leader with a question of his own. The Ikari commander's question lingers unanswered for what feels like years in the pace of their high-speed battle. In it, Heidern returns to the offensive. He blurs past Geese, who moves forward, trying to outpace the mercenary and turn to meet him. It is not enough.
Jagged slashes, each with the precision of a surgeon--or an assassin--rake across Geese's back in a flash of blood and chi. The crimelord staggers forward two steps then catches himself before he falls forward. He rises gradually, painfully, and turns with a slow, strained movement to face Heidern once more.
"I will never die," Geese says, tensing and snapping his arms to the out firmly. He sweeps them in a great cycle, gathering the last of his reserves in a big, sweeping motion. He inhales deeply and speaks again.
"I will conquer death itself like I've conquered all other obstacles--!"
Geese thrusts both palms forward in a great flash of blue and white chi.
But as the chi fades, whatever the outcome, Geese lurches. His wounds have caught up with him, his chi is exhausted, and with it, he topples forward in defeat. ...at least, for now?
COMBATSYS: Geese can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Heidern blocks Geese's Rashoumon.
[ \\\ <
As the edges of his leather gloves become covered with slick, crimson fluid from the back of his opponent, Heidern spins around to face Geese Howard - slashing his arm through the air as blood flies off his glove to splatter on the ground.
Though the man is falling forward, that one eye remains carefully narrowed on his form... and then he stands back up, and Heidern's body tenses in preparation for an assault. The words he offers seems to momentarily break the Ikari CO's concentration, however, as his brow raises in shock.
Could he truly believe what he is saying??? How can one man be so arrogant, so prideful?
This thought is cut off, as Geese lashes out at him with both palms. Seeing the build-up of chi before it explodes, the soldier begins to draw forth his own inner power as his body begins to shimmer with the red energy of his assassination techniques... some last ditch attempt to absorb the blast leveled at him.
But the power unleashed by the Terror of Southtown is simply too potent; burning through the layer of defensive chi that Heidern has manifested around himself.
The moment that his barrier breaks, the Ikari CO is sent sprawling backwards, out of the confines on the circular 'ring' painted on the rooftop - his already-damaged spine slamming into one of the numerous golden statues that line the man's extravagant office.
Dropping onto his knees, Heidern falls forward as he presses one palm down onto the ground. His limb twitches and shakes under his own weight, as the cumulative wounds he's suffered in this bout finally begin to get the better of him. Shooting his gaze up from the rooftop towards Geese, the soldier seems to confirm that his opponent appears to be completely out of the fight...
...before he succumbs to his own injuries, and falls forward onto his shoulder.
"Take it from an old soldier, Howard..."
Heidern's voice comes out as a low and raspy whisper, spoken through ragged breaths that shake his entire body.
"Death comes for us all."
That final bit said, the mercenary falls into silence, and his one good eye shuts. Whether he is unconscious, or merely reflecting upon this stalemate result, is known only to Heidern himself.
What is obvious, however, is that he is unable to pull himself to his feet. In his last moments, Geese Howard has taken the Ikari CO down with him...
COMBATSYS: Heidern takes no action.
COMBATSYS: Heidern can no longer fight.
Log created on 13:21:44 02/10/2018 by Heidern, and last modified on 01:02:04 02/17/2018.